When you wake up drenched in a cold sweat from a nightmare, what have you dreamt about? Are you falling from a building or are you gasping for air because you nearly drowned? Perhaps you are imagining the nightmarish horrors of using multiple vendors for your I&R/A contact center technology.
Information & Referral/Assistance is one of the most important services helping those in need in our nation today. In 2015 alone, national I&R/A services, such as 2-1-1’s, reached over 291 million Americans, accounting for 93% of the population, and covered all 50 states. Unfortunately, many Information & Referral/Assistance organizations are becoming trapped in a horrifying game of trying to manage multiple vendors for their resource databases and contact center communications technology.
The Monster of all Budgets
With budgets consisting primarily of government funding and grants, I&R/A’s face a whole different monster. Organizations that utilize I&R/A resource databases are typically stuck working with multiple vendors in order to implement a contact center technology and a resource database. Working with multiple vendors means increased costs that include initial cost of deployment, the cost of support, and the cost of updates and maintenance to those services. For I&R/A organizations working with extremely strict budgets, that means cutting vital resources, such as I&R specialists and administrators, which effect the level of service and effectiveness of assisting individuals seeking help.
The Devil is in the Time Management Details
Time is a precious commodity that organizations cannot afford to lose and, unfortunately, I&R/A’s that work with multiple vendors lose time daily. Instead of being spent on growing and nurturing the business of helping others, this time is instead spent on communicating and managing vendor relationships.
Maintaining and updating technology that holds important data is one of the most crucial components for I&R/A providers in their ability to provide accurate, real-time information to customers. With multiple vendors, valuable time can be wasted when data must be updated in multiple locations. Wasted time for Information & Referral/Assistance providers means the difference between managing communication with vendors or helping someone find shelter after a natural disaster.
A Communication Killer
The goal of Information & Referral/Assistance programs are to connect people with information on services that they need when they need it most. But when an organization’s focus becomes pulled from helping those they serve to managing multiple vendor relationships, it comes at a human cost.
I&R/A organizations are known for their I&R specialists’ ability to provide a unique human element to their services. These individuals are extremely knowledgeable and trained to handle even the most difficult situations, but when faced with the challenge of using multiple systems and technologies, even the best communication can break down in interactions. The failure to communicate with people in need can quickly compromise their safety and their trust in Information & Referral/Assistance providers.
When I&R/A organizations steer clear of the twists and turns of using multiple vendors, the experience of service provided by and received is immensely improved. By utilizing a single vendor for your I&R/A database and contact center technology, your organization can better prepare for anything that goes bump in the night.